STEDF Business Retention Secures Almost 3,000 Jobs In St. Tammany

MANDEVILLE, LA – Seven business and industry partners received awards from the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (STEDF) Thursday, January 28, 2016, at STEDF’s annual luncheon, where STEDF CEO Brenda Bertus also detailed the organization’s highlights and achievements from 2015.

         The luncheon was presented by Rain CII at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell, LA. Corporate sponsors included Florida Marine Transporters, the Northshore Business Council and Slidell Memorial Hospital.

         “At STEDF, we remain committed to economic development,” Bertus said. “Our work developing business parks and certified sites keeps St. Tammany competitive, marketing our parish as an attractive business destination.”

         STEDF reps said 14 companies committed to locate or grow their operations within the parish in 2015, and that those companies agreed to invest $52.6 million in St. Tammany retaining 2,896 jobs and committing to create 588 new jobs.

         Ten of the 14 companies committed to expanding in St. Tammany, investing a total of $43.7 million, developing 579 new jobs and retaining 2,418 jobs.

         Every dollar spent by STEDF in 2015 resulted in a $105 economic impact and generated $23 in new wages for St. Tammany residents, amounting to an $88 million economic impact for the year, STEDF reps said.

         Bruce Clement, chairman of the STEDF board of directors, said, “We want to inspire new connections between the various communities in St. Tammany, encouraging a diverse and united home for CEOs, tradesmen and everyone invested in the success of a company. Because a company’s success ultimately drives the success of the local economy.”

         Read the STEDF’s 2015 annual report here


STEDF Awards


• Elizabeth Valenti received the STEDF Innovator of the Year award.


         This award is given to a local St. Tammany business or business leader who displays a commitment to the implementation of technology and innovation in product or service process or design, developing new technology, creating opportunities for innovation in the workplace and utilizing related industry to develop innovation clusters and knowledge sharing.

         Bertus said, “Elizabeth Valenti and her dynamic team at WorldWinds, Inc. produce critical weather models for use by various government partners. Under Elizabeth’s direction, WorldWinds develops cutting edge technology from NASA, the U.S. Navy and the NOAA into state-of-the-art products and services that improve weather readiness and public safety. Her passion and creativity make her a uniquely innovative leader who tackles significant technical challenges to coordinate with scientists around the world.”


• Microchip Identification Systems, Inc. received the STEDF Entrepreneur of the Year award.


         This award is given to an individual entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs who are committed to the growth of an entrepreneurial community in St. Tammany and dedicate their time and talents to foster entrepreneurial activity within our community.

         Bertus said, “Founded by a veterinarian and a history graduate in 1989, Microchip ID Systems manufactures, sells and registers implantable microchips for the purpose of identifying and locating animals. With their groundbreaking FDA- and USDA-approved injection-delivery system, Microchip ID Systems is able to register over 5,000 pets a month. After working with both STEDF and Louisiana Economic Development, Microchip ID Systems completed the Economic Gardening program.”


• Mele Printing received the STEDF Expansion Project of the Year award.


         This award is given to a local St. Tammany business who launched a major expansion project during the 2014 calendar year. Criteria includes, but is not limited to, facility expansion, job retention, job creation, service or product expansion, market share or reach expansion, facility expansion or creation and capital investment.

         Bertus said, “Mele Printing is a nationally-recognized leader among large commercial printers. In 2015, their 4,500-square-foot addition to their existing 50,000-square-foot facility in Covington increased their footprint to half a city block. This expansion retains 85 jobs, creates 9 new jobs and invests over $2 million into St. Tammany.”


• Associated Wholesale Grocers received the STEDF Economic Development Project of the Year award.


         This award is given to the all-around most successful project completed during the 2014 calendar year. Criteria includes, but is not limited to, job creation, capital investment, new technology, new or expanding sectors in our area and success rate following the opening of the business in St. Tammany.

         Bertus said, “Associated Wholesale Grocers, a retailer-owned grocery cooperative, distributes merchandise to member stores all over the country… Due to their success at the Pearl River warehouse and distribution facility, AWG expanded their existing St. Tammany operations by 140,000 square feet. This expansion retains 280 jobs, creates 35 new jobs and invests over $15 million into St. Tammany.”


• The Northshore Technical Community College Maritime Consortium received the STEDF Economic Development Partner of the Year award.


         This award is given to a community or business partner who maximizes the opportunities for economic development in St. Tammany. This business or organization is one who understands the value of economic development, community development, entrepreneurship and workforce development within St. Tammany and provides or creates opportunities for enhancements and/or new developments in these arenas.

         Bertus said, “Since its inception, the Northshore Technical Community College Maritime Consortium has served as the voice of business and industry in the creation of a new curriculum for maritime study. Through the Consortium, local business and industry leaders drove the development of the coursework, sharing vital information about their needs and expectations. This program of study fills a former gap in technical training in the local maritime industry, serving as a tool for workforce development as well as business attraction and retention.”


• STEDF presented two Gateway Awards to Robert Levis Development and Sam and Judy Camp.


         The Gateway Award, newly created by STEDF, recognizes community leaders who take action to improve the image and infrastructure of St. Tammany, who open doors for economic development and pave paths for success and growth.

         Of Robert Levis Development, Bertus said, “Many land owners and developers jump at the first chance to build on a property, without looking far into the future. However, Robert Levis Development had a grander vision for 400 acres of land on Interstate 10. Due to their patience, perseverance and master plan, Fremaux Town Center is being developed for first-class retail, office parks, hotels, luxury apartments and townhomes.”

         Of Sam and Judy Camp, Bertus said, “These two leaders and entrepreneurs had the foresight to take on a section of U.S. 190 not far from the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and develop it, constructing a high-end office building, even before securing any tenants… Sam and Judy Camp’s proactive development has paved the way for future business attraction and retention.”


         STEDF leads economic development in St. Tammany Parish, attracting new businesses and employment opportunities to the area. The organization seeks to improve parish residents’ quality of life by strengthening and supporting the business climate.

         For more information



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